Fox news and others report that Zimmerman was found not guilty for second degree murder, as well as not guilty for manslaughter. This strengthens case law for self defense, improves America’s stance on individual liberty, continues the tradition of innocent until proven guilty, and maintains the right to a trial by jury. That, in conjunction with TX HB 2 news, makes for a great week of news.
Manslaughter is a legal term for an unlawful murder which was conducted in a manner with less legal responsibility, culpability or blame than a murder. Killing in a car accident can be considered involuntary manslaughter. Assisted suicide is sometimes considered manslaughter. Voluntary manslaughter occurs when murder was intentional, but there are some circumstances reducing culpability, or legal responsibility and fault for the crime, to a level less than that of murder. Usually voluntary manslaughter occurs when a person meant to harm but not kill, or when they meant to kill but it was done in response to another person’s crime or provocation. An example might be premeditated revenge killing.
The fact was clearly established in court that George Zimmerman killed Treyvon Martin. It was not established whether or not George premeditated the murder or acted with malicious intent. In not being established there was left what is called a ‘reasonable doubt.’ The reasonable doubt doctrine is an American doctrine which holds that if you have a reasonable doubt that someone is guilty, you must not find them guilty. This is done, among other reasons, on the consideration that it is better to have a guilty man free than an innocent punished. This ideology minimizes the power of government and maximizes freedom, among other implications. In that way the Zimmerman ruling maintained and strengthened America’s pro-liberty and laissez faire stance.
We also witnessed the preservation of the presumption of innocence, which is a legal doctrine traceable back to Common Law. Presumption of innocence can also be argued as part of Christianity. 1 Corinthians 13:7 tells us that love, “always hopes, always trusts…” Of course the Bible also repeatedly states that we are to love everyone, even our enemies, in great contrast to every other religion’s teachings. Together these form the presumption of innocence which is a great conservative value including a preference for Common Law and Christianity.
The reason Zimmerman could have been found not guilty of manslaughter or murder despite the fact clearly being established that he killed is that the killing was deemed lawful. Even an accidental killing is considered manslaughter if the killing is unlawful and accidental. Whether or not the killing was accidental is beside the point, according to this line of thinking. The killing was lawful because self-defense law in Florida. ‘Stand your ground’ was never invoked, although the presence of such law in the state certainly speaks to the fact that Florida is strong on self-defense law. Self-defense law is a continuation and strengthening of the pro-self-defense tradition began by the Right to bear arms. One cousin of stand-your-ground would be the Castle Doctrine. All of these laws strengthen individual rights at the expense of government dependence. Furthermore they all operate more efficiently than the alternative, which is to wait on the military, police and government to take care of us and monopolize the use of lethal weaponry. The fact that more guns means less crime shows that line of thinking for the foolishness it is. Taking the pro-individual self-defense rights to their extreme, which I advocate doing and yet even the most so-called conservatives fear to do, would involve decentralizing the police and military, legalizing vigilante justice and allowing the right to bear arms in its true and intended sense – without need of licenses or tests for anything prior.
The right to a trial by jury has been under fire. The Patriot Act, expanded Executive powers and others reasons have been claimed as justification for the disgusting eroding of the sixth amendment’s right to a speedy, pubic trial by an impartial jury and the fourth’s due process. Terrorism is ill-defined and the new kind of anti-terrorism war we have now is not geographically restricted. These, with other findings, can be summed up by stating that any person can legally be assassinated or imprisoned indefinitely. This is not an American issue but a global issue, with the UK government flailing against its jury protections in an attempt to grab power as it dies off as well. Many other countries never had the protections in the first place. The fact that this highly politicized trial was able to proceed according to due process including a trial by jury is a refreshing step back towards a civil society which respects the rule of law, something which benefits economies and quality of life more than a little.
Amazingly, Obama has called for America to honor the Zimmerman verdict! This move is a great step toward restoration of rule of law and traditional American separation of powers.
In conclusion, I do think justice has been served. More important than this one case, however, is the precedent and case law which has been set as a result of this trial. The trial was very much a landmark case and a show trial which will influence legal thinking. The precedents are clearly pro-individual liberty, self-defense, rule of law and conservative restoration of the concepts of innocent until proven guilty, reasonable doubt, separation of powers, due process and trial by jury. The NAACP and Holder are already trying to reverse all of that by calling for another trial, after the verdict has already been rendered.
- George Zimmerman Verdict: NOT GUILTY of Murder, Manslaughter in Trayvon Martin Case (thehollywoodgossip.com)
- The George Zimmerman Verdict: Justice Served? (jaketleech.wordpress.com)
- Zimmerman found not guilty in Florida (radionz.co.nz)
- Justice, Truth, and George Zimmerman (thepartycrashers.wordpress.com)